One of the most stunning trees, Pohutukawa( Metrosideros excelsa) also called NZ Christmas tree due to the fact it flowers over the summer period. It is a large much branched tree which can grow to about 50 metres - these trees literally hum with bees when in flower. It is an iconic NZ symbol and although a coastal tree, it will grow well inland. Dry seasons result in the heaviest nectar flows from Pohutukawa, the bees working the blossoms from dawn to dusk. The flowers offer ample greenish yellow pollen which cover the bees, no more pollen than that required is collected, so copious is the nectar flow.
The Kowhai or (Sophora tetraptera) middle of the North Island and (Sophora microphylla) throughout NZ, are one of the best know early flowering native trees. Kowhai can reach a height of 12 metres, bursting into flower in the spring before the new leaves arrive. The bees compete with birds for the large amount of nectar produced form the gorgeous bright yellow bell-like flowers. The pollen is deep orange, but it is the nectar the bees tend to collect. The honey is a light amber in colour with a mild but distinctive flavour.
This photo is one I took last year on a visit to Pukekura Park in the lovely west coast city of New Plymouth, about 3 hours from where I live.
of the bark when peeled off. The flowers are white and star-shaped, the bees adore it, I do to, it is a lovely tree, it has so many sweetly scented flowers, often concealing the leaves. It flowers in the autumn with the bees collecting large amounts of nectar, the amber honey having a strong but not unpleasant flavour.